Berlin – Germany is planning the legalization of recreational marijuana. Public safety and health will be a top priority in the forthcoming legislation, said German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.
The German government is moving forward with a bill to legalize marijuana consumption. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said Thursday (30/06) that the draft law was scheduled to be ready by the end of 2022.
The upcoming law is “a long-awaited step for many,” Lauterbach said, adding that the government would apply the “safety first” principle in its efforts to legalize marijuana use.
“Current, especially repressive methods of dealing with marijuana have failed,” Lauterbach said, as quoted from the DW Indonesia page, Saturday (2/7/2022).
So far, a government backed by a three-party German coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the FDP has joined the marijuana legalization plan. The coalition is committed to the “controlled distribution of marijuana to adults for consumption.”
Lauterbach previously opposed legalizing marijuana, citing health risks. While the health minister’s position has changed over the past two years, he still presses for clarification of important details regarding the legalization of marijuana.
He said the protection of minors and aspects related to the Criminal Code, taxes, and road traffic laws need to be carefully considered.
“Cannabis use is no small thing for young people, let alone children, and can destroy lives before it actually starts,” the health minister said.
However, he also recognized the need for safe and quality access to illegal drugs without criminalization as something that “must be accepted and is a part of modern society.”
Currently, about four million adults in Germany use marijuana, according to the health minister.
The coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens, and Free Democrats (FDP), has signaled that it is seriously considering legalizing marijuana possession.
Representatives from the three parties told Essen-based media group Funke on Thursday (11/18) that they were working on plans to “introduce controlled distribution of marijuana to adults for recreational purposes which can be found in licensed shops.”
Germany’s business-focused Green Party and FDP have been calling for the controlled legalization of marijuana for years.
Meanwhile, from the group of officials stressed, to make strict regulations and protect children is the most important thing.
According to their report on the matter, the new law will call for a major evaluation over the next four years to assess the implementation and effects of marijuana legality.
The sale and consumption of cannabis for recreational purposes has long been legal in the Netherlands, although other European countries have been late to implement it.
In October 2021, Luxembourg became the second European Union country to legalize recreational marijuana use.
Luxembourg is also the first country in the European Union to legalize the cultivation of marijuana for non-medical purposes, while in the Netherlands it is still illegal.
Coalition parties did not comment on whether the cultivation of cannabis in Germany would also be legalized.